Bid to turn pub into home wins support

Bicester Advertiser: The Fox Inn at Stanton Harcourt Buy this photo The Fox Inn at Stanton Harcourt

AN East Oxford cycle shop owner should be given permission to turn a rural pub into his dream home despite concerns, a council report says.

Nasser Salehi, 60, who runs Cycloanalysts in Cowley Road, bought the closed Fox Inn at Stanton Harcourt to retire to.

But he needs permission from West Oxfordshire District Council today to change its official use.

A planning officer said he should get permission as the pub has struggled in recent years and would be unlikely to turn a profit.

But Stanton Harcourt Parish Council and two residents have opposed the plan.

Mr Salehi said: “I had been looking for a place in the countryside with a bit of garden when this came along.

“I thought it would be an ideal situation to go there and resurrect the building – it is in a desperate state of disrepair – and make it my home.”

Admiral Taverns has tried to sell the pub since 2009 and closed it in June, selling it to Mr Salehi and wife Julia-Ann in August.

The application says people value services like pubs and Post Offices but do not necessarily want to use them “on a consistent and sustainable basis”.

This left the pub with a debt of £10,296 in 2010/11 as tougher drinking laws and changing habits hit profits, it said.

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Mr Salehi said he had seen “nothing but support” from villagers to take over and restore the house.

The council report said the pub had been failing for some time and profits had dwindled significantly and urged councillors to back the plan.

The low number of letters opposing the move support this, it said.

Objections, though, said trade had been hit by an “unsympathetic attitude” from most tenants running the pub.

And one said: “It may be possible to turn around the commercial fortunes of the pub”.

The parish council questioned claims of “substantial support” from villagers to turn it into a home.

Three people told the council to approve the plan.

Parish council chairman Charles Mathew told the Oxford Mail: “We are very concerned about losing another source of employment in the village.

“We would prefer that there was a further chance given to it to remain in a commercial capacity.”

This could be as a shop, for example, he said.

It follows similar plans to turn county pubs into homes.

Councillors have recently won battles to stop the development of the Chester Arms in Iffley Fields, the Quart Pot in Milton-under-Wychwood and the Bishop Blaize in Burdrop. Owners said the pubs were no longer viable.

The lowlands area planning sub-committee will consider the plan at the district council’s Woodgreen, Witney, offices at 2pm.

Comments (7)

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3:55pm Mon 19 Nov 12

train passenger says...

If these same parish councils allowed some more houses to be built this whole problem wouldn't arise (as the inhabitants would generate business for the pub and house prices would not be as high, meaning you wouldn't have to go and buy a pub to turn it into a house). Stop blaming the tenants folks and start looking in the mirror.
If these same parish councils allowed some more houses to be built this whole problem wouldn't arise (as the inhabitants would generate business for the pub and house prices would not be as high, meaning you wouldn't have to go and buy a pub to turn it into a house). Stop blaming the tenants folks and start looking in the mirror. train passenger
  • Score: 5

4:44pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

Can anybody tell me about these tougher drinking laws introduced in 2011/12 that led to a loss?
Can anybody tell me about these tougher drinking laws introduced in 2011/12 that led to a loss? Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: -68

10:44am Tue 20 Nov 12

bikeman2 says...

What a load of tosh! This pub was run very successfully for a couple of years by a friend of mine. She left as the brewery renaged on a load of promises to invest in the pub - the loos and upstairs accommodation were shocking! She now runs a very successful pub elsewhere so had the experience and expertise to make a go of The Fox and I'm sure someone else could also have done with SUPPORT of the brewery - not empty promises. It is convenient to say that it is now in a state of disrepair - it was allowed to become this way because the brewery did not want to support it.
What a load of tosh! This pub was run very successfully for a couple of years by a friend of mine. She left as the brewery renaged on a load of promises to invest in the pub - the loos and upstairs accommodation were shocking! She now runs a very successful pub elsewhere so had the experience and expertise to make a go of The Fox and I'm sure someone else could also have done with SUPPORT of the brewery - not empty promises. It is convenient to say that it is now in a state of disrepair - it was allowed to become this way because the brewery did not want to support it. bikeman2
  • Score: 2

1:39pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

Unfortunately Bikeman you are right. It is far more profitable for These small pub companies to sell of their stock than to have people making a living and providing a service for the community. They are just following the lead of Morrells who after the sell off to Greene King Kept the Horse and Jockey, The Globe, Plasterers etc as they knew if they closed them afterwards their value as flats would turn them a massive profit
Unfortunately Bikeman you are right. It is far more profitable for These small pub companies to sell of their stock than to have people making a living and providing a service for the community. They are just following the lead of Morrells who after the sell off to Greene King Kept the Horse and Jockey, The Globe, Plasterers etc as they knew if they closed them afterwards their value as flats would turn them a massive profit Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: 2

7:03pm Wed 21 Nov 12

RuralResident says...

The Fox was in terminal decline until a new Landlord revitalised it and transformed it into a busy pub.
But even with a lot of DIY redecoration, both inside and out, it was still in a near-ruinous condition with rotting windows and appalling plumbing. The refurbishment promised by the 'Pubco' never happened.
I cannot believe that Stanton Harcourt Parish Council really believe that the Fox could become a shop. The excellent village shop closed and the only reason that the village still has one is that the tenants of the Harcourt Arms set one up in a spare room.
The adverse comments about 'some' tenants cannot possibly apply to AF, who is now running an excellent pub in another village.
The Fox was in terminal decline until a new Landlord [AF] revitalised it and transformed it into a busy pub. But even with a lot of DIY redecoration, both inside and out, it was still in a near-ruinous condition with rotting windows and appalling plumbing. The refurbishment promised by the 'Pubco' never happened. I cannot believe that Stanton Harcourt Parish Council really believe that the Fox could become a shop. The excellent village shop closed and the only reason that the village still has one is that the [then] tenants of the Harcourt Arms set one up in a spare room. The [unattributed] adverse comments about 'some' tenants cannot possibly apply to AF, who is now running an excellent pub in another village. RuralResident
  • Score: 2

7:47pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Nortona says...

YOUR RIGHT!

Unsympathetic attitude from many of the tenants, definately, and I can name them all over the last 30 years....

BUT, the last family in there with 3 young children were fantastic, the best tenants in my opinion and many many others.

The landlady was full of enthusiasm, supported all the local groups and was loved by young and old.

She and her wonderful family now run a very successful pub closer to Witney and I could not be happier for them.
YOUR RIGHT! Unsympathetic attitude from many of the tenants, definately, and I can name them all over the last 30 years.... BUT, the last family in there with 3 young children were fantastic, the best tenants in my opinion and many many others. The landlady was full of enthusiasm, supported all the local groups and was loved by young and old. She and her wonderful family now run a very successful pub closer to Witney and I could not be happier for them. Nortona
  • Score: 1

10:19pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Stricklass says...

Thank you guys! My family and I worked very hard and created a busy little business but unfortunately we did not have support from the pubco"
Stanton harcourt is a small village the fox was a drinkers pub and in the current climate business in villages are no longer there! If the fox remains closed The Harcourt Arms stands a chance to be a good business for the right people! The council need to realise some pubs will have to close or stop selling alcohol in supermarkets then people would have to enjoy a drink in the social centre of the village !! There pub!!!
Nasser loves The Fox and wants to live there and revamp the building and take care of it!! If it re opens as a pub it will continue to go to ruin by pub company's who don't care about it! I have find memories of the fox I have it my heart and soul! But it's time to let it go!! As for the councellors steve good and Charles Matthews (they live in Stanton) They never bought a drink in the 3 years I was there or supported The Fox so i can tell you to but out!! AF
Thank you guys! My family and I worked very hard and created a busy little business but unfortunately we did not have support from the pubco" Stanton harcourt is a small village the fox was a drinkers pub and in the current climate business in villages are no longer there! If the fox remains closed The Harcourt Arms stands a chance to be a good business for the right people! The council need to realise some pubs will have to close or stop selling alcohol in supermarkets then people would have to enjoy a drink in the social centre of the village !! There pub!!! Nasser loves The Fox and wants to live there and revamp the building and take care of it!! If it re opens as a pub it will continue to go to ruin by pub company's who don't care about it! I have find memories of the fox I have it my heart and soul! But it's time to let it go!! As for the councellors steve good and Charles Matthews (they live in Stanton) They never bought a drink in the 3 years I was there or supported The Fox so i can tell you to but out!! AF Stricklass
  • Score: 1

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